News & what's on - Written by on Sunday, March 24, 2013 10:40 - 0 Comments

The Met, City of London Police & SOCA spearheading additional £8 million crackdown on overseas corruption

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The UK government has reportedly earmarked a further £8 million in the fight against corruption to go to specialist anti-corruption teams in the Metropolitan and City of London Police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) as well as additional support for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Last month International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced new support for specialist units in the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Reportedly two police force anti-corruption units and SOCA have received a funding boost of £8 million over the next three years to fight overseas corruption by UK citizens – and those who use the country to launder money before sending it abroad.

The additional support will allow these agencies to continue to stop foreign or UK criminals from benefitting from corrupt practices in developing countries.

The same press release also revealed that Britain has established a new taskforce of UK legal and investigative experts to help recover stolen assets across the Middle East.

This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement that transparency and accountability would be a key priority at this year’s G8 summit.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

“When corruption happens in developing countries, it is the very poorest people in our world who foot the bill. Corruption is a deadweight which is holding countries and their people back.

“The UK government will not only work in countries to prevent public funds from being siphoned off or stolen – we will step up our efforts to combat corruption that uses our shores as a host.”

The Head of Economic Crime at the City of London Police, Detective Chief Superintendent Oliver Shaw, said:

“DFID’s ongoing support is enabling the City of London Police’s Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit (OACU) to investigate and prosecute some of the most complex and significant cases of overseas bribery and corruption.

“OACU is combating criminality originating from UK entities that transcends national boundaries and international borders and damages the distribution and application of development aid to some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. Proposals for further expansion of the units proactive resources is evidence of just how seriously the Government is taking this threat”

The Department for International Development is reportedly providing the Metropolitan Police’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit with an additional £3.4 million over three years.  The Met’s unit investigates allegations of corrupt foreign politicians or officials laundering money through the UK. Since UK aid funding started the unit there have been eight successful prosecutions and over £100 million has been identified and is being recovered or held pending investigation.

An additional £3.8 million over three years is reportedly to be provided to the City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate allegations of UK citizens and companies involved in overseas corruption, especially foreign bribery.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency is reportedly to receive £850,000 to develop better intelligence which can be used to inform future investigations and the Crown Prosecution Service is to receive support for asset recovery in the UK.

Examples of the UK’s work to tackle corruption in poor countries include:

  • Innovative technology –  the introduction of online automated tax and government services in Bangladesh which are less open to abuse.
  • Seizing stolen assets – Britain has extended support for Caribbean investigators who seize assets gained from corruption.
  • New laws – helping Mozambique to implement its new law on public probity which includes specific measures to tackle corruption.
  • Local police – supporting local police and farmers in Malawi to monitor seed and fertiliser distribution and arrest any corrupt officials.
  • Train local media – building a strong free press in Nepal to root out corruption and hold institutions to account.

Law enforcement outside the Serious Fraud Office is often overlooked in the context of investigating and prosecuting corruption.  £8 million is a significant amount of funding in these cash strapped times.

Having been allocated to the fight against corruption there will be an expectation of some results!

Those who continue to place their chips on non-enforcement coming up trumps, the odds just got worse.

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